As I write this column, the sun is shining and a flock of birds are gathered and singing in the nearby pines. The warmth of the day is a reminder of the presence of the Lord in our day-to-day lives. Even the psalm in today’s Mass (Psalm 4:2, 4, 7—8, 9) reminds us to allow our hearts to enter into the warmth of the light of God’s love and not to remain in the darkness of sin and death.
The gospel reading (Luke 24: 35-48) reinforces this very point. Jesus enters into the room with the disciples and says, “Peace be with you.” Yet, the disciples are “startled and terrified.” Their hearts doubted the presence of the Lord. Jesus even asked, “Why do questions arise in your hearts?” They so desperately needed the Lord’s face to shine on them, for Him to calm their fears, and for His peace to reign in their hearts.
Just imagine being in your office, kitchen, garage, or yard busy with mundane tasks and Jesus suddenly appears before you and wishes you peace. You see the wounds in His side and hands, but a tremendous sense of anxiety washes over you. Who is this? Could this be the Lord? In that moment, you become aware of the clutter in your heart, the anger, the unforgiveness, and the sin which you avoided confessing the last time you went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You feel shame wash over you and now the anxiety grows stronger. Will HE forgive you? The Lord once again offers you peace. You are completely vulnerable before Jesus, your sins are exposed and HE still loves you. What a beautiful realization of His love for all of us.
“Lord, let your face shine on us!” Let your love wash over our fearful hearts and enable us to come to you just as we are; broken, belonging totally to you, and your beloved. Our lives can be so consumed by suffering, by the darkness of sin that we tend to forget just how much He loves us. Today, as we move about our daily routine, let’s try to make the intentional choice to take a break from the darkness of our lives and step into the warmth of His unconditional love.
As we look into your Holy Face today Lord Jesus, help us to encounter your peace in a new and more profound way.